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Trump signs bill to speed up study for levee work
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President Trump signed into law Tuesday the New Water Act that expedites the federal feasibility study of the effort to extend 200-year flood protection to 46,500 residents in Lathrop proper, southwest Manteca, Weston Ranch in Stockton, and rural areas including French Camp.

Congressman Jeff Denham successfully inserted language into the bill that allows the feasibility study of Reclamation District 17 levees along the San Joaquin River as well as back up cross levees or dry levees to be completed at a faster pace than is now taking place.

The bill provides financing for water projects throughout the western United States, including new reservoirs, below ground storage projects, recycling and desalination projects.

Denham noted the RD-17 project expected to cost $176 million will reduce estimated property damage in floods by 84 percent while enhancing security at 262 critical infrastructure sites, 12 of which are considered essential to life safety

Should a 200-year flood occur with multiple levee failures along the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers south of the Interstate 5 bridge before the merger with the 120 Bypass, engineers have indicated it would:

*flood 4,200 existing homes with 3 feet or more of water.

*endanger and force the overall evacuation of 46,500  residents in Lathrop outside of River Islands, Weston Ranch in Stockton, southwest Manteca, and rural areas

*force the evacuation of San Joaquin Hospital — the county’s major trauma center — as well as the county jail.

*force first responders at five fire stations, the Lathrop Police Department and the county sheriff to abandon their stations and key communication centers in the middle of a major emergency.

*Lathrop High and Weston Ranch High would have water flowing through their campuses as would six other Manteca unified elementary schools.

*force the closure of portion of Interstate 5 — the major West Coast freeway running from Mexico to Canada — and the 120 Bypass.

*water would swamp the wastewater treatment plant serving 81,450 existing Manteca residents and more than 13,000 of Lathrop’s nearly 24,000 residents.

*disrupt Union Pacific Railroad train movements as well as damage tracks that Altamont Corridor Express relies on.

*182 commercial and industrial properties from Costco to the Lathrop Target and Tesla Motors to Simplot would be flooded.

And that’s just for starters. Modeling shows a number of existing homes would likely suffer water damage in fringe areas that could receive upwards of three feet of flood water.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email